As I stepped out of the airport after a long international trip, my amazing wife, Marsha, greeted me. We hugged, kissed and were filled with joy being in each other’s presence again.
Little did we know that we were sailing head-on into the perfect storm, and the only way out would be to walk steadily through it with God at our side.
The first heads-up that something was wrong came when my oxygen levels dropped critically. My health deteriorated swiftly after the initial onset of symptoms, and it was immediately clear something was very wrong. Within just a few days, I was nearly incapacitated. At the hospital, they diagnosed me as having COVID-19, pneumonia and the flu. To add insult to life-threatening injury, I suffered an asthma attack. It was a serious blow to an already over-taxed respiratory system.
Of course, before I discovered I was COVID-19 positive, I had infected Marsha also. The next six weeks were the most challenging that my wife and I have ever faced.
All day, every day, we prayed for healing and trusted God. Our loved ones lifted us up and interceded on our behalf with unshakeable faith. I have been told that there were and are thousands of people praying for Marsha and me in Russia, along with the multitude of Facebook friends and ministry partners we have around the world. Between their support and the incredible collaboration of doctors, ambulance drivers, hospital staff and pharmacists who have played a key role in our healing, we are undeniably blessed.
I’m glad to report we are taking the first steps in the process toward victory, but healing—like so many challenges we face—is a process. I am now negative for COVID-19 and feeling much better. I will still need X-rays of my lungs to ensure I’m fully recovered from pneumonia, but on a day-to-day basis, things are improving. Marsha is still testing positive for the virus, but her symptoms are improving steadily.
Does the persistence of the virus in our bodies or the symptoms we grappled with indicate that God wasn’t present in our lives or that He delayed His gift of healing? Not at all. Some challenges God changes instantly, but most of life is a process.
When we accept Christ as our Savior, we enter His kingdom. That is instant. Once we have entered that kingdom, then the kingdom of God enters us, and that begins in us the ongoing work of sanctification. Sanctification is not instant. It is a process, and we who have chosen to submit our lives to the Lord will undergo that transformation until the Father calls us home to heaven.
Faithfulness doesn’t look like attaining perfection once we come to know Jesus. It looks like striving to be more like Him every day. It looks like a series of incremental changes over time that adds up to a big difference.
Are some people healed from substance abuse, addiction or health concerns instantly and miraculously, either at the time of their salvation or after? All the time.
Is this the only way God works miraculous redemption in the lives of His people? Does a miracle have to be instantaneous to be a miracle? Absolutely not.
During my life and ministry, I have seen God do more miracles than I can count. I’ve been on the receiving end of more than a few of them, having survived cancer and this recent battle with the three-headed monster of killer respiratory illnesses. I’m here to tell you, the speed with which God works in someone’s life has nothing at all to do with the Holy Spirit power involved.
I can attest to the truth in the following Scriptures:
—”Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
—”God does not show favoritism” (Acts 10:34b, NIV).
—Whether the answer to your prayer takes five seconds, five weeks, five years or 50, God is still the same. His power is still the same. And His desire is still to “show [you] the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us” (Eph. 2:7b.
Whatever processes you’re in the middle of—I say this as someone in the process of a miracle myself—God is with you. We are on our way to victory, and the best is yet to come. It is safe for us to trust the Father’s process.
I bless you and your families today, and I thank you that you have been a part of this miracle.
You’re beautiful. I see Jesus in you.
Have an awesome week!